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Mullan-2011

Posted by Jeffrey B. Mullan, MassDOT Secretary and CEO

Again this week, there were news stories about MassDOT's handling of the situation regarding the light fixture that fell in the O'Neill Tunnel.  Let me use this opportunity to write directly about the situation. 

MassDOT is an organization of 10,000 people, responsible for hundreds of miles of roadways, bridges, rail tracks, thousands of pieces of complex equipment, in addition to aviation oversight and the management and operation of our RMV.   Our employees include some of the most professional and public-minded people working anywhere.  We have very skilled engineers who are held accountable for their engineering and technical judgments.  A small number of employees, including me, have responsibility for public information.

After the light fixture fell on February 8, the engineering, maintenance and operations staffs of our Highway Division responded swiftly, appropriately, and proactively to ensure public safety and to uncover any systemic issues.  That part of the incident is well underway and is under control.  It is now clear that the incident was not reported immediately.  I have emphasized the performance and professionalism of the staff, and, as the public face of MassDOT, have assumed responsibility for any gaps or delays in the public dissemination of the information.  I chose not to publicly fault anyone but myself for this failure.  Later, when asked when I learned of the incident, I answered that question truthfully.  My emphasis on taking responsibility for the incident unfortunately created the impression that I intentionally mislead the public.  I didn’t.   

It is clear to all of us that the way to fix state transportation is to stay on the course we have set.  For my part, I will continue to encourage a culture of openness, transparency, and accountability at MassDOT.   

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